A Quick Chat With ... LJ Talley
Feb. 16, 2017

Georgia baseball sophomore LJ Talley has gotten around a baseball diamond over the years. At least in the infield. In his many years of ball, the Folkston, Ga., native has never played the outfield in a game.

He saw time at second and third base for the Bulldogs as a freshman, starting 54 of Georgia's 57 games, and this season will play second and some first.

Prior to Georgia's season opener Friday against the College of Charleston at Foley Field, Talley say down in the dugout for a wide-ranging chat. Among the topics he discussed was growing up in Folkston, which is about 45 minutes from Jacksonville, and likely best known for being the hometown of Georgia football's Bailey brothers: Champ, Boss and Ronald. H

Here's some of what he had to say:

Frierson: What can you tell me about your hometown of Folkston? I know from Wikipedia that it's next to the Okefenokee Swamp, the Bailey brothers are from there and the population is a little more than 4,000.

Talley: The only reason people around here have heard of it is because the Bailey brothers are from there. I'm from a small hometown, I graduated with 67 people, and it was always known as a football town. And then my class growing up, my class and the one above us, we all played together growing up and when we got [to Charlton County High School] it kind of changed from football to baseball.

My ninth-grade year we went to the state championship -- we didn't win but we got there. The next two years we won it. It's just a very small town and sports are big there.

Frierson: Is the Okefenokee part of your life at all or is it this well-known thing that's just outside town that nobody pays much attention to? It's a pretty legendary place and a pretty scary place, at least to some.

Talley: It is pretty scary with all the snakes and gators or things. I've been there once or twice -- it's there but I'm not hanging out there much.

Frierson: I also read that something like 65 trains pass through the town each day, going in and out of Florida.

Talley: Oh yeah, it's a big train-watching spot. I don't get it but there will be photographers out watching the trains -- there was a show about it on some big television network or something. I don't know what it it, but they're big into trains there.



Frierson: People come to Folkston just to watch the trains go by?

Talley: Just to watch to the trains go by. And people come from all over.

Frierson: Are these special trains, antique trains or something?

Talley: I don't know. There's the little train station there and people go to hang out. I don't know.

Frierson: What's the best live performance you've ever seen? It can be a concert, a sporting event or whatever.

Talley: When I was younger I went to a Cowboys game, when Emmitt Smith was still playing, and I was really young. It was cool to see him play.

Frierson: What's something from your childhood that you really miss?

Talley: I would probably say my grandma. She was a big part of me and she died when I was 12 years old. She just had a heart attack. I really miss her and she's someone I always have in the back of my mind.

Frierson: When you think of her is there one thing that comes to mind, a sight or a smell? It's often a smell because grandmom's usually equal good food.

Talley: There was good food, but she also had this song that she called Hambone. It was funny and something to embarrass me. [Laughs]

Frierson: You played third base and second base last season and now I know you're spending some time at first. How many different positions have you played in your baseball career? Have you played all nine at one time or another?

Talley: I've never played outfield, but infield, yes. I've never played any outfield position before in a real game. I've pitched, too, in high school. I'm sure I could play in the outfield but I've never done it before.

Frierson: How good of a pitcher were you?

Talley: I think was alright. I wasn't like these guys out here, but I did good in high school. But I knew that wasn't my future.

Frierson: Who's the most interesting guy on the team?

Talley: Drew Moody, he's just very funny. He'll make light of any and every situation, just make you laugh.

Frierson: What's the most creative thing you do? Or what's something creative you wish you could do?

Talley: I would love to travel the world some day. That would be sweet. Hopefully some day I have the opportunity to do that.

Frierson: Are there one or two places at the top of your list?

Talley: I really want to visit Bora Bora. If I get married maybe I could go on a honeymoon there. Really, there are a whole bunch of different places I want to see.

Frierson: Where's the most interesting place baseball has taken you?

Talley: I went to Arizona once, but the most interesting experience I ever had with baseball was going to North Carolina to play in a Team USA thing and we played against Chinese Taipei. That was pretty cool.

(This Q&A was lightly edited for length and clarity.)

John Frierson is the staff writer for the UGA Athletic Association and curator of the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame. You can find his work at: Frierson Files. He’s also on Twitter: @FriersonFiles and @ITAHallofFame.

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